Airbus reportedly slashes price to win US military tanker project

European aerospace giant Airbus has cut its prices in a bid to win a fight with US rival Boeing for a $40-billion US Air Force tanker contract, a German business daily reported on Monday.

Airbus reportedly slashes price to win US military tanker project
Photo: DPA

Airbus has cut the proposed cost for the contract to build 179 aerial refuelling tankers by at least 10 percent from the level in a previous offer in 2008, the Financial Times Deutschland (FTD) reported, citing industry sources.

Last week, the two competitors submitted their offers to Washington, setting the stage for a high-stakes transatlantic trade scrap. It will be the third time the contract has been awarded.

In 2003, Boeing won the deal, but the decision was overturned after a conflict of interest emerged between the Pentagon and the aircraft manufacturer.

Five years later, Airbus won a second call for proposals in a joint bid with US firm Northrop Grumman but again the decision was annulled when the US Government Accountability Office found the offers were incorrectly analysed.

Northrop Grumman subsequently withdrew from the race triggering uproar in Europe with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel accusing Washington of bias in favour of the all-American Boeing plane.

The Air Force is expected to make its decision by November 12.

The project, worth an estimated $35 billion to $40 billion (€27.7 to €31.5 billion), is seen as crucial for bolstering US air power and will be a financial boon for the winning firm.

The FTD said that the deal could be worth as much as $100 billion when follow-up contracts were taken into account.

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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.